Being half-Parsi is not really helping Farah Khan make her acting debut as a Parsi woman in Bela Sehgal's movie Shirin Farhad. The choreographer-turned-director-turned-actor needs time to prepare for the part to match up to her co-star Boman Irani's performance.
While Farah is only half-Parsi, Boman is a full Parsi. To match his natural Parsi accent and body language would take Farah more time to acclimatize herself to the role of a 45-year-old seeking love in a chronically single mama's boy.
"I am very nervous. And I need time to prepare. Boman has promised to do readings (rehearsals) with me. I am spending a lot of time with lots of Parsis, trying to catch their accent, observing the way they dress, walk, talk and interact. My Parsi side is strong in my emotional personality, my behaviour and quirks. But none of us in my family speaks Gujarati. We all married into non-Parsi communities," said Farah.
Her stint as judge on dance reality show Just Dance is sapping more of her energy than she had imagined. On top of this is the stress of going into a completely new area with a debutant director, Farah now has to cope with the extra baggage of changing her body-language and appearance for Shrin's part.
"After the magical benchmark performance as a Parsi woman that Shabana Azmi gave under seasoned director Vijaya Mehta's direction in Pestonjee, Farah and Bela have a hard act to follow up. In Pestonjee, Shabana had to match her Parsi accent and appearance with the inimitable Naseeruddin Shah. Neither of them was a Parsi," said a source.
Farah agrees Shabana's Parsi act in Pestonjee is unbeatable. "But my part in Shirin Farhad is very different. No two Parsis women are the same," she said.
As for Bela Sehgal's brief that Farah change her appearance and body language for the part, Farah quipped, "I'm a director's actress. I will do whatever I am asked to."